1st build in years ... question on cooling/fans/airflow

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1st build in years ... question on cooling/fans/airflow

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:01 pm

This is my 1st build in years... since the early 90's. Lots of stuff has changed. This was my first time worrying about cpu coolers :)

I've used the Sweet Spot config as a starting point - sort of.
case: nzxt h2
mb: Asus Z87-A
cpu: i5-4570
memory: 16GB (Corsair Vengeance)
cpu cooling: Cooler Master Hyper 212 plus (just the default 1 fan)
video: haven't decided on a new card yet. at this point I'm just using the built in. I may just move my HD 5870 from my old pc. I'm not posting about this.
case fans: just the default ones on the H2 - 2 120mm front intakes blowing across the HD bays, 1 120mm exhaust top back.

I had a conflict between the height of the ram and the fan on the cpu cooler. Just like the TR video, I've placed the fan on the other side (so blowing back to front through the heatsink).

Environment: so far during the testing the room air temps have been low to mid 70's but since I don't have A/C the summer temps commonly reach mid 80s and sometimes higher.

I've built the system (minus video card) and to stress test the cpu cooling I've used Prime95 and Open Hardware Monitor to watch temps. With the case open, I saw cpu temps max at 51c, with the case closed it maxed at 60c. Playing around with the bios fan settings can lower that (since by default it doesn't max the cpu fan until 70c). Also boosting the H2's case fan speed from low also helps. I haven't yet installed the asus fan software.

Given my warm to hot summer environment, I'm a bit concerned:
1) I haven't added the video card (with its large heat footprint) yet
2) the case exhaust fan is just 2-3 inches from the cpu cooler fan and they are blowing in opposite directions - this can't be good when the fan speeds increase.
3) I'd like to be able to keep the noise low.

I've been thinking of adding a top exhaust fan (the case has an opening for a 140mm) and a bottom intake (120mm iirc). While I'm sure the top fan will help, it would be placed just inches above the cpu cooler and the current rear exhaust fan. Would the 2 exhaust fans make the cpu cooler's fan less efficient - since it is blowing towards the front of the case? Enough to worry about?

Another option would be to also change the cpu cooler to one that wouldn't conflict with the ram.

Thoughts?
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Re: 1st build in years ... question on cooling/fans/airflow

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:15 pm

1) If you bought a 2x8GB RAM kit, move the sticks to the yellow DIMM slots on your mobo. That will give you enough room to install the CPU fan pushing air through the heatsink.
2) If that's not possible (you bought a 4x2GB RAM kit)..Turn the CPU fan so it's sucking air through the CPU heatsink and pushing it toward the rear exhaust
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Re: 1st build in years ... question on cooling/fans/airflow

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:16 pm

Your RAM, is that a 2x8GB or 4x4GB? I had the same problem with mine (2x8GB), but I moved the RAM over so the sticks are still in separate channels, but far enough away that my Frio's fan does not interfere.

You need to reverse your CPU fan, at least. You want your case to direct air in one direction to minimize air "crashing." Basically, the less obstructed the air is, the more fresh air you get, the cooler your system is. So if your front fans are intakes, your rear fan should be exhaust, and your CPU fan should always direct toward the exhaust. You can have a separate air path from bottom to top (makes no sense to reverse that).
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Re: 1st build in years ... question on cooling/fans/airflow

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:52 pm

I highly recommend a cooling method that take the heat out of the case, not swirl it around.
Close loop water cooler are perfect for that. Also mind your GPU cooling, you want the blower to take the air out, not swirl it inside the case.

The best config I found to date: have a water cooler exhaust air, GPU that exhaust air, while case fan equalize the pressure (intake)

If you dont over-volt, you can find closed loop water cooler for <$50. I think TigerDirect sell 'overstock' of the Corsair H60 for $29
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Re: 1st build in years ... question on cooling/fans/airflow

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:14 pm

the RAM is 4x4 ... not sure why I did it that way rather than 2x8 ... I just didn't think about it

I can easily reverse the fan direction on the cpu cooler. Ignoring the complexities in my situation, isn't pushing air through the cooler better than trying to pull air through it?
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Re: 1st build in years ... question on cooling/fans/airflow

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:23 pm

Dafyd wrote:the RAM is 4x4 ... not sure why I did it that way rather than 2x8 ... I just didn't think about it

I can easily reverse the fan direction on the cpu cooler. Ignoring the complexities in my situation, isn't pushing air through the cooler better than trying to pull air through it?


If it's possible, you could try mounting the fan a little higher on the cooler. If not, then yes, pushing is better than sucking, but sucking in the right direction is better than pushing in the wrong one :).
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Re: 1st build in years ... question on cooling/fans/airflow

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:27 pm

Dafyd wrote:I can easily reverse the fan direction on the cpu cooler. Ignoring the complexities in my situation, isn't pushing air through the cooler better than trying to pull air through it?

A much worse situation is having two fans working against each other. If your CPU cooler and exhaust fan are in oposite directions (and as close as they are) you're basically just creating a vacuum between the fans and not pulling any air.

If you want to keep your CPU cooler the same, you could reverse the entire case's flow so that the front is exhaust. It would be a little less efficient since the hot air from your parts wants to rise, but then your rear fan would be helping your CPU cooler instead of fighting it.

Although, if you're 4x4GB on RAM and really worried about the heat, you should probably look into a water cooler. That would fix your RAM interference and get some extra separation between your radiator and GPU.

Speaking of cases...is the door on the H2 mesh or solid? And if solid, is there enough separation on the sides of the doors to allow for airflow into the case?

EDIT:
If not, then yes, pushing is better than sucking, but sucking in the right direction is better than pushing in the wrong one .
Ooooh context....
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Re: 1st build in years ... question on cooling/fans/airflow

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:49 pm

superjawes wrote:A much worse situation is having two fans working against each other. If your CPU cooler and exhaust fan are in oposite directions (and as close as they are) you're basically just creating a vacuum between the fans and not pulling any air


I was worried about that ... one of the reasons I posted.

superjawes wrote:Speaking of cases...is the door on the H2 mesh or solid? And if solid, is there enough separation on the sides of the doors to allow for airflow into the case?

It is solid but it seems to have plenty of air gap... I can test it tonight to see if there is any effect on CPU temps with door open vs closed. Good thing to check.

Related, the case has a removable cover for the optional top fan - to stop dust from falling into the system when off. It is flush to the case on 3 sides and open on the 4th - but the gap isn't large. If I add that fan, I'll have to run a similar test.


superjawes wrote:EDIT:
If not, then yes, pushing is better than sucking, but sucking in the right direction is better than pushing in the wrong one .
Ooooh context....

lol
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Re: 1st build in years ... question on cooling/fans/airflow

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:53 pm

Airmantharp wrote:If it's possible, you could try mounting the fan a little higher on the cooler.


That might be possible, right now it is lined up with the top of the heatsink. That might give enough room for the RAM, then I could do push pull fans.

As to the self contained water coolers, I'd thought about them. some of the reviews I've read mentioned that they were noisier than good air coolers. But, using one would certainly clean up air flow and space issues.
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Re: 1st build in years ... question on cooling/fans/airflow

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:00 pm

An H80i on Low isn't cheap- but it is quiet. Still, you don't have a k-series CPU that would require more voltage to raise the clockspeed for overclocking, so really the 212 is just about overkill if you can get everything going in the right direction.
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Re: 1st build in years ... question on cooling/fans/airflow

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:22 pm

Thanks guys.

I'll make changes to the existing equipment tonight and retest.

As to even the 212 being overkill, I'm mainly worried about next summer when it is 89f in the room - I don't want to worry about the system melting before I do :)
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Re: 1st build in years ... question on cooling/fans/airflow

Postposted on Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:43 pm

These CPUs are rated to run at very high temperatures at the core- it's only a big deal if the CPU actually starts throttling, though it may limit the CPU's ability to boost to top speed. Again, just try getting everything going in the right direction- it works wonders.

Also, if you're worried about GPU cooling, get one with a blower, and add a filtered intake fan to balance it all out.
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Re: 1st build in years ... question on cooling/fans/airflow

Postposted on Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:43 am

Update:

I wasn't able to place the cpu cooler fan in the original side and just move it up a bit - to get the fan to clear the RAM it would block me from closing the case.

But, it didn't take much effort to reverse the fan so it pulled air through the heatsink - in line with the case exhaust fan. This made a huge difference in temps. Before, the temp delta between stable idle and max was 28c. After, it is 21c - a 25% reduction. Also, the cool down time from max temp to stable idle temp was cut by over 50%.
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